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September 28, 2010

Table of Contents

Cool Links: Young Learners Need Librarians, Not Just Google
National Geographic Society Releases Updated Complete National Geographic
ePals Announces Advanced Caching Solution for its LearningSpace Product
MMIS Xtra News: Complete September/October 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Contents Now Available Online—Full Text, Text+Graphics, PDF
Curriculum Associates Launches ‘CAMS’ and ‘STAMS’ Math Series
Key Curriculum Press Bundles Sketchpad with Sketchpad LessonLink
CoSN Releases Suite of Online Resources to Strengthen Web 2.0 Leadership Among K-12 Administrators
Research Released on “School Principals and Social Networking in Education: Practices, Policies, and Realities in 2010”
WeAreTeachers, Follett Software Company Partner for New Microgrant Opportunity

Cool Links: Young Learners Need Librarians, Not Just Google

This Cool Links story points you to an article in Forbes from a while back that just came to our attention, on the need for quality school libraries/media centers.  It's entitled "Young Learners Need Librarians, Not Just Google," and it's about, well  ...  :-)     From the article:

A year ago The New York Times presented a multimedia, packaged gift to school librarians everywhere. With its profile of Brooklyn, N.Y., school librarian Stephanie Rosalia, at long last, a major newspaper had chronicled the 21st century school librarian's role as Web curator and information literacy specialist.

The article made the Times' "most e-mailed" list for days and was featured on more than 100 blogs, as educators and parents everywhere recognized the need for media specialists to guide students. In a School Library Journal article that deemed Rosalia "The New Poster Girl for School Libraries," Rosalia said she was "awestruck at how this article has struck a nerve all over the country with people who are not librarians." Yet she was also surprised by a school board director who was "absolutely clueless" about how important school librarians are to student success.

Cut to the present, and librarian blogs tell a different story. Many absolutely clueless administrators still believe that a search engine is an adequate substitute for a trained research teacher. ...

Not surprisingly, since the article was published in Forbes, its author is a business person rather than an educator, and is speaking to the business community, but with a message educators and parents would like as well. Of course, in your case, he's preaching to the choir. Good ammo for the school board, unless they're also already in the choir.

Find the full article HERE at forbes.com.

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National Geographic Society Releases Updated Complete National Geographic

The National Geographic Society has announced that an updated version of "The Complete National Geographic," featuring 121 years of the iconic magazine's content, is now releasing in a box set of six DVD-ROMs and on hard drive.

"The Complete National Geographic" provides users with new ways to explore the rich treasury of reporting and photography from one of the world's most iconic magazines. In this updated archive, from October 1888 through December 2009, every printed page of the more than 1,400 issues, including over 200,000 photographs, has been digitally scanned, allowing users to leaf through electronic pages, search, zoom, scroll and print at a high-resolution level that captures the clarity and quality of the original publications. "The Complete National Geographic" can be ordered at www.completenatgeo.com or by calling (888) 225-5647.

In addition to the photography, the archive brings together more than a century of coverage that has introduced people around the world to the wonders of science, cultures and nature. New features of the updated "The Complete National Geographic" include:

* All 12 issues and supplemental maps from 2009. The issues include an article on the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park; the first seamless portrait of a redwood tree; a humorous and stunningly photographed feature on orchid reproduction by Michael Pollan; an adventure story on the search for Shangri-La; Garrison Keillor ruminating about state fairs; a story about life in modern Somalia; intimate portraits of Africa's Hadza people; and a look at the rarely seen Tsingy de Bemaraha national park and reserve in Madagascar.

* Ability to rotate pages for better viewing of images

* Enhanced search results

* Ability to copy DVDs to local computer drive

* Ability to print in full-color in multiple formats

* Built-in ability for users to keep CNG archive current with online access to future content upgrades

The "Complete National Geographic" has user-friendly navigation that permits users to search by keyword, date, contributor and topic. The Geobrowse function powered by Bing Maps allows users with internet access to search nearly 5,000 locations on a globe that are featured in the magazine's archive of articles and maps. The boxed set includes "readlists" created by National Geographic personalities, a trivia game with more than 300 questions and a 120-page book documenting the history of the National Geographic Society and National Geographic magazine.

 "The Complete National Geographic" users will be able to add to their archive after purchasing the DVD-ROM or hard drive product by downloading annual updates from www.completenatgeo.com or by purchasing a DVD from www.ngstore.com.

6-DVD-ROM Set ($79.95, TOPICS Entertainment Inc., ISBN: 978-1-4262-9635-2)

Hard Drive ($199.95, TOPICS Entertainment Inc., ISBN: 978-1-4262-9637-6)

Source: National Geographic Society, www.nationalgeographic.com/

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ePals Announces Advanced Caching Solution for its LearningSpace Product

ePals, Inc. has announced an advanced caching solution that will provide real-time access to its LearningSpace product from any location at anytime. The solution, being first deployed with Hauppauge School District in New York, helps teachers and students create and collaborate on high-bandwidth multimedia projects in a safe environment, while satisfying the bandwidth needs of schools by ensuring reliable access for greater learning experiences.

A whitepaper detailing the solution and its benefits, and the Dell and Intel technologies forming essential elements of the solution, is available at Dell.com/K12 and also at www.learningspace.epals.com. Hauppauge School District is playing a critical role in helping the companies understand the requirements of school districts and is leading the way for other schools. Multiple school districts from around the United States have also begun expressing the need for such a solution.

"An increasing number of school districts are implementing ePals LearningSpace in an effort to create more collaborative learning scenarios and to increase the use of multimedia to effectively teach today's students," said Ken Graham, assistant superintendent for the Hauppauge School District. "But many schools are realizing that their current bandwidth levels are not sufficient for real-time learning. The caching solution provided by Dell will solve this problem while keeping the budget limitations of school districts in mind."

The solution is location-aware, pulling from the most efficient location - cloud or local caching system - based on where the user is located and the nature of the information being retrieved. For example, a student accessing a frequently viewed educational video at school might receive it from the caching solution. Later in the day, that same student might access a project at home and receive it from the cloud. Users won't need to know which location the information is coming from, or other network attributes, only that it is coming quickly and reliably when needed.

It is optimized to work with ePals' LearningSpace product, a web-hosted virtual workspace for creating, sharing, managing, and collaborating on educational content - as well as its role-based permissions and policy management solution - helping K12 schools with collaborative learning experiences while keeping students safe.

More information can be found at: www.learningspace.epals.com.

Source: ePals, www.epals.com

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MMIS Xtra News: Complete September/October 2010 MultiMedia & Internet@Schools Contents Now Available Online—Full Text, Text+Graphics, PDF

The September/October 2010 issue of MultiMedia & Internet @ Schools magazine is all there now at our website www.mmischools.com. In addition to the free September/October reviews and the free full-text cover story (Four Competencies for a 21st-Century Education and How to Implement Them), which have been available since the beginning of the month, now the remaining features, columns, and other September/October content have been processed. Some are free to view. Others are available in a variety of formats -- Full Text, Text+Graphics, and Page Image PDF -- on a pay-to-view basis by way of Information Today, Inc.'s InfoCentral and ProQuest Archiver.

For access, see the September/October 2010 issue contents HERE, click on any article, and follow the links.

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Curriculum Associates Launches ‘CAMS’ and ‘STAMS’ Math Series

Curriculum Associates has released a new series with the CAMS & STAMS name to help educators accurately diagnose students' levels and provide differentiated instruction to help raise student achievement in foundational math skills. The CAMS (Comprehensive Assessment for Mathematics Strategies) & STAMS (Strategies to Achieve Mathematics Success) series provides an assessment and instruction program which includes engaging interactive whiteboard activities for skills practice and to ensure student mastery of every concept.

Designed to boost math performance for students in grades 3-8, CAMS is a research-based diagnostic tool, including pretests, benchmarks, and post-tests, that help identify students' strengths and weaknesses, target instruction, and measure progress and mastery of the most important math skills at each grade level. STAMS consists of a series of highly-scaffolded lessons that allow for explicit instruction based on the results from the CAMS series of assessments. Each grade level of STAMS covers and provides deep instruction of 16 skills and concepts aligned to the NCTM Focal Points and Connections and identified as the most important math skills students need to master to move on to the next grade level. Additionally, the lessons and concepts within each grade level are aligned to Common Core Standards.

The CAMS & STAMS program provides comprehensive support for teachers to teach the subject in various education settings, including summer- and after-school programs, and it offers an ideal solution for students who need extra support to meet grade-level requirements. Embedded professional development including step-by-step guidance and intuitive interactivity make lessons easy to use for teachers with all levels of experience.

Each grade-level CAMS series and STAMS series contains 25 Student Books and one Teacher Guide, for a total of 50 Student Books and two Teacher Guides for $359.00. The CAMS series includes Student Books that are sold in 10-packs for $39.90 and Teacher Guides that can be purchased individually for $5.95. The STAMS series Student Books can be purchased for $10.95 each and Teacher Guides for $13.95 each. The complete set of 32 Interactive Whiteboard lessons per grade level is included for free with purchase of the CAMS and STAMS series.

Source: Curriculum Associates, www.curriculumassociates.com

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Key Curriculum Press Bundles Sketchpad with Sketchpad LessonLink

Key Curriculum Press has announced the launch of the Sketchpad Bundle. The company is offering The Geometer's Sketchpad and Sketchpad LessonLink together at one rate, combining the latest version of Sketchpad with access to Dynamic Mathematics activities aligned to state standards and Common Core State Standards.

Teachers can choose the grade, content strand, standard, or lesson they want to teach, and Sketchpad LessonLink will identify activities tailored to their lesson plan. In addition, Sketchpad and Sketchpad LessonLink help teachers meet the Common Core State Standards, as Dynamic Mathematics software is cited in the standards as a strategic tool.

Sketchpad offers students in grades three through college a tangible, visual way to learn mathematics that increases their engagement and understanding, the announcement states. The software can be used from elementary to middle school, and all the way through Algebra 1 and 2, Geometry, Precalculus, and Calculus.

Sketchpad LessonLink is an online library of more than 500 Sketchpad activities designed to help teachers integrate Sketchpad into their curricula. Teachers can publish activities and instructions to a Student Web Page that students may access from school or home. Plus, Sketchpad LessonLink enables teachers to establish a network for exchanging activities.

Key Curriculum Press is offering two versions of the Sketchpad Bundle. The School and Home Bundle offers Sketchpad on all school-owned computers at less than half price, Sketchpad LessonLink for all teachers for three years, with the third year free, and student access to Sketchpad at home for a discounted rate. The School Bundle offers Sketchpad on all school-owned computers at a 50 percent discount, and Sketchpad LessonLink for all teachers for three years, with the third year free.

For more information about the Sketchpad Bundle, visit www.keypress.com/gsp.

Source: Key Curriculum Press, www.keypress.com

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CoSN Releases Suite of Online Resources to Strengthen Web 2.0 Leadership Among K-12 Administrators

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has announced the availability of Participatory Culture: Building Blocks for School Leaders, an online suite of resources aimed at bolstering Web 2.0 leadership and advocacy among school administrators. The online suite is designed for use by superintendents, principals, chief technology/information officers (CTOs/CIOs), technology directors and curriculum directors.

Participatory Culture: Building Blocks for School Leaders is composed of the following three resources:

* Leading with Web 2.0: A guide to building capacity of school administrators to be effective users of new digital media and advocates for using Web 2.0 applications in their districts 

* Learning with Web 2.0: A toolkit with resources for  school administrators to engage faculty, staff and parents in conversations about Web 2.0-enabled participatory learning 

* Transformative Leadership with Web 2.0: An assessment tool to help school administrators evaluate their adoption and use of Web 2.0 tools for 21st century learning and to find online sources to expand their own capability

The launch of the online suite of resources comes of the heels of the release of " Web 2.0 as a Force for School Transformation: A Tale of Six Districts," the second in a series of four monographs from the 2010 CoSN Compendium. The newly released monograph details how six school districts are advancing participatory culture through Web 2.0 tools and a reexamination of policies and practices.

The Participatory Culture: Building Block for School Leaders online suite of resources is supported by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional support is provided by the following sponsors: AT&T, Cisco Systems, Inc., eChalk, Edutopia, Gartner, Global Scholar, Lightspeed Systems, Lenovo, nGenera, Pearson, SAS, Schoolwires, Inc., and SmartTechnology ULC.

To learn more about these resources: visit www.cosn.org/Initiatives/Web2/BuildingBlocks/tabid/7283/Default.aspx.

Source: Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). www.cosn.org

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Research Released on “School Principals and Social Networking in Education: Practices, Policies, and Realities in 2010”

A new research report has been issued that summarizes the results of an extended look at school principals' use of social networking. The underlying research for the report, "School Principals and Social Networking in Education:  Practices, Policies, and Realities in 2010," was conducted by edWeb.net, IESD Inc., MMS Education, and MCH Strategic Data. 

The report notes that, since the creation of MySpace and LinkedIn in 2003 and Facebook in 2004, online social networking has quickly become a pervasive means for people to connect all over the world. Yet schools are one of the last holdouts, where many of the most popular social networking sites are often banned for students, and often for teachers, librarians, and administrators, out of a concern about safety, privacy, confidentiality, and lack of knowledge about how best to ensure appropriate use.

At the same time, education reform initiatives from all corners-Federal and state programs, education research, and policy initiatives-are advocating the use of innovative and collaborative technology to drive improvements in teaching quality and student achievement.

The goal of this research study was to take a close look at the attitudes of school principals about social networking for their own personal use, with their colleagues, and within their school communities.  Principals can play an important role in encouraging and training their teachers and staff to adopt new technologies, and in setting policies for the use of technology and the Internet in schools.

The research was conducted in two phases: an online survey sent to a cross section of educators across the country in the fall of 2009, followed by an in-depth EDRoom online discussion with 12 principals who are currently using social networking in their professional lives.

Among the key findings:

  • Most principals who responded to the survey believe that social networking sites can provide value in education because they provide a way for educators to share information and resources with an extended community of educators, create professional learning communities, and improve school-wide communications with students and staff. About half of the surveyed principals felt that social networking is very valuable for these purposes.
  • Most of the principals in the discussion group thought that social networking and online collaboration tools would make a substantive change in students' educational experience. Specific types of changes they mentioned included:
    • Development of a more social/collaborative view of learning
    • Improved motivation, engagement, and/or active involvement
    • Creation of a connection to real-life learning
  • None of the responding principals in the discussion group had school/district policies in place on social networking that were deemed adequate, suggesting the need for conversations and collaboration on establishing policies that can facilitate appropriate use of social networking in schools for educational purposes.

To request a copy of "School Principals and Social Networking in Education: Practices, Policies, and Realities in 2010," send an email to survey@edweb.net, or download the report at any of these sponsors' websites: www.edweb.net, www.mmseducation.com, or www.mchdata.com.

Source: Interactive Educational Systems Design, Inc. (IESD), www.iesdinc.com

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WeAreTeachers, Follett Software Company Partner for New Microgrant Opportunity

WeAreTeachers, the online social and business network that brings together teachers, learners and content in the education industry, has announced the launch of its newest microgrant opportunity, sponsored by Follett Software Company.

Educators are asked to answer the question "What would $200 help you do with your school's library?" Answers can be submitted by visiting www.WeAreTeachers.com. The deadline to apply is Monday, Oct. 11.

All of the submissions will be placed in an online gallery for open voting, which will end Oct. 26. The 10 ideas that garner the most votes will win a $200 grant, as well as a Flip Video camcorder or an Apple iPod nano with video to share the implementation of their project with the WeAreTeachers community. The idea that receives the most votes will win an Apple iPad.
To date, WeAreTeachers has awarded close to 100 microgrants on teacher-created projects supporting teaching green, creativity and arts, digital learning, special education, student engagement, literacy and more.

Source: Follett Software Company, www.follettsoftware.com

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